We get it, MSM: you hate us, you really hate us. The MSNBC-ification of the MSM was increasingly apparent as the summer ended, and the left’s cheerleading for the Ground Zero Mosque, whipsawed by Obama’s now you see him/now you don’t approval of the project gave way to the fall midterms. Needless to say, it hasn’t subsided after the MSM and the man they put into office received a well-deserved shellacking last month.
First up, as Jeff Poor writes at the Daily Caller, “Fareed Zakaria to the American people: You are ‘the big problem;’” tuning into CNN’s Parker-Spitzer so you don’t have to:
Parker asked Zakaria if he had faith the American people could handle the fiscal discipline he advocated. Zakaria used the platform as an opportunity to attack Americans and refute the notion “the American people are wonderful.” His solution: Less consumption by the American people.
“No, I think the people are the big problem,” Zakaria said. “I mean, Americans — everybody wants to say the American people are so wonderful. You know, I think that when they come to recognize that they have to make sacrifices too that it’s not just wasteful — they need to have — they need to recognize that some of what’s going to happen here is fewer. They have to consume fewer things. They have to accept slightly higher taxes. And in the long run, you will have a much better economy.”
I agree. That’s why I began to consume fewer media sources ages ago, eliminating Newsweek, Time and CNN, Zakaria’s main haunts.
Oh, and NPR, where Ann Althouse catches a report on the taxpayer-funded radio network’s word of the year:
“No” has a great power to bring people together, precisely because it doesn’t have to be pinned down. A child has a much harder time mastering “yes,” which is always the response to a specific prospect — “Do you need to go potty?” Whereas the child’s first “no” comes earlier, as a pure eruption of willful refusal. And the word retains that capacity, even as we learn to intone it to convey despair, anger, defiance, fear, astonishment, disappointment or resignation.
And that’s how NPR sees you voters: You’re children. You’re resisting potty training. Your Tea Potty Party is mindless emotionalism. You’re — as Andrew Sullivan would put it — intellectually inert brats.
That’s what makes these choruses of negativity so hard to read, whether they’re coming from unhappy voters or tired preschoolers in full shutdown. Everybody is sounding the same plaintive note, but it isn’t as if there’s any single juice flavor that will make them all happy again.
Hard to read?! Is conservatism is a foreign language to Nunberg and the NPR slow-listeners stuck in traffic? Juice flavor? It would be a punch line for me to call that a punch line — juice ≈ punch — but why is that a punch line? Maybe Nunberg plied his intellectually inert brats with juice — I’ll get grape, because grape is a little more favorite — but what does that mean about what he (and NPR) think government is supposed to do? It’s supposed to give us yummy things to make us feel good (and compliant). No wonder he can’t read these choruses of negativity.
NPR is of course an establishment liberal organization that thinks of itself as the very arbiters of objectivity; as does E.J. Dionne of the Washington Post. Or as Ronald Radosh writes in a terrific piece here at PJM on “A Leftist Masquerading as a Moderate Centrist:”
In the 1980s and 90s, Washington Post columnist E.J.Dionne, Jr. was a sensible centrist; a man who took conservatives seriously and often tried to comprehend what they were saying without animosity. In 1991, he wrote a book titled Why Americans Hate Politics. In 1996, just about the time Bill Clinton was set to run for his second term, Dionne was author of a book defending the “progressive” agenda, titled They Only Look Dead: Why Progressives Will Dominate the Next Political Era. I reviewed the book for Commentary, and you can find an abstract of what I said here. (Unless you pay for it, the review is behind their firewall.)
Dionne had been, I argued, trying to find a “new middle ground” between contemporary liberalism and conservatism. To renew liberalism, he understood in the 1980s, liberalism had to rescue itself from irrelevance by learning “the many lessons that conservatism has to teach about the value of tradition, value, and community.” Of course he defended big government and a large public sector, but he had a great aversion to the political correctness of that era: multiculturalism, radical feminism and other “anti-democratic impulses,” as he called them. That is why, in an earlier book, he sought to save liberalism from itself.
By the eve of the Clinton second term, he and other former liberals ditched the term and began to call themselves “progressives,” a term they hoped would separate themselves from the fringe elements that used it. He hoped that Gingrich era Republicans would collapse, and that his Clinton third-way progressives would use government to “temper markets and enhance individual opportunities.” He did not envision the disaster Clinton experienced when his attempt to redesign health-care totally led to a great political setback and to a major defeat in the 1994 mid-term congressional elections.
And now here we are in 2010, when our most recent mid-term elections have led the Obama White House to suffer its major political defeat, one created by its social-democratic big government agenda and its insistence on ramming through a health-care bill that is one of the most unpopular and loathed programs by the majority of the American populace. Now, as in the1990s, the Democratic Party and its think-tanks are still, as I wrote in 1996, “locked into positions very far from what Dionne’s Anxious Middle could plausibly be said to want.”
Read the whole thing.™
The point, again, is not to justify paranoia or conspiracy theorizing. But an outsize paranoia about paranoia — what Jesse Walker has dubbed the “the paranoid style in center-left politics” — seems like a rather odd response to a political moment in which nearly all of our overlapping crises are the result of disastrous misgovernment at the center, not “gun brandishing” and violence at the extremes. The Tea Party’s politics are not my politics, but the movement has virtues as well as vices, and at the very least it represented a possible alternative force at a time when our politics desperately needs alternatives, whether right-wing or left-wing or something else entirely, to the policies that have led us to our present pass. Nothing good may come of it, but an awful lot more ill has come from politics-as-usual of late than from grassroots populism.
The irony is that when it comes to his own personal hobbyhorses (the Vatican and the sex abuse crisis, most notably), Hitchens has something in common with the more paranoid Tea Partiers: He starts with a justifiable sense of outrage, and then proceeds to embrace sweepingly manichaean and essentially fictive narratives about evil in high places. This is deeply human of him, but I’m not sure it makes him the right man to lecture others for believing “darkly in betrayal and conspiracy.” First remove the beam from thine own eye …
Needless to say though, the paper where Douthat’s column appears has an enormous beam its own eye on this issue, which Douthat knows full well. Pinch was among the first of the modern left to trash half his potential audience. In the early 1990s, Pinch Sulzberger, the publisher of the Times, was quoted by New York magazine as saying that if older white males felt alienated by the changes Pinch was making to the Times, this was proof that “we’re doing something right.”
In the Sinkler years, the tbr [the Times' Book Review section] projected an unremitting hostility to anything resembling normative culture, especially if the book in question came from a high-profile conservative. Rush Limbaugh’s The Way Things Ought to Be spent fifty-three weeks on the Times bestseller list, twenty-four of them as number one, but was not reviewed until a year after its first appearance on the list. And then it was derided by Walter Goodman, who said that Limbaugh’s writing alternated “between slobberings of sincerity and slaverings of invective.” Goodman was appalled that the book was aimed at “a part of middle America—call it the silent majority or The American People or the booboisie—that feels it has been on the receiving end of the droppings of the bicoastals as they wing first class from abortion-rights rallies to aids galas to save-the-pornographer parties.”
Might want to get your own house in order, fellas, before asking that of the rest of us.
Related: Spotted on the long-range sensors of the Jawa Report: “HuffPo Moderator: ‘Time to Kill Cheney’”